JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald may have been a loner in life, but it seemed in death he at least had Nick Beef next to him.
Visitors to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave in Fort Worth, Texas, have wondered who Nick Beef was since a mysterious gravestone appeared next to the legendary killer’s around 1997.
The New York Times solved that mystery Friday, tracking down Nick Beef to New York City where he is alive and well.
Now 56-years-old, Nick Beef is a writer and “non-performing performing artist”.
Nick Beef was born Patric Abedin, the son of a Air Force navigator. When President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline landed at Carswell Air Force base in Fort Worth on November 21, 1963, he was there on the side of the road to welcome them to Texas with the many other well-wishers.
He had lost his father, so a military police officer pulled him up on his shoulders to find his dad.
Just then the president and first lady drove past and he had a prime view.
It was quite a story, and one that she shared with all of his classmates at Waverly Park Elementary School the next day.
At recess Nick Beef had to stay inside since he was an asthmatic, so he was alone when he heard the principal come on the loudspeaker twice to announce that first the president had been shot, and then that he was dead.
When his class returned, he had to break the news to his teacher and friends.
Years later, he relocated to Arlington, Texas with his remarried mother and would make a weekly trip back to the air base to get an asthma shot.
While in Fort Worth they would often stop at Rose Hill cemetery and look at Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave.
“Never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died,” his mother would say.
In 1975, when Nick Beef was 18, he read in a newspaper article that the plot next to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave had never been purchased and inquired about it at the cemetery.
He put $17.50 down on the plot and made 16 monthly payments of $10 to secure it.
Eventually Nick Beef would leave the state and move to New York, where he performed in a sketch-comedy troupe, and did some freelance humor writing. Nick Beef married, had two children and divorced.
When he went home to bury his mother in 1996, he stopped by the cemetery and asked to get a gravestone put on his plot.
When asked what he wanted, he decided on Nick Beef to protect his family name.
While he is a comic, he insists that buying the plot and placing the gravestone is not some elaborate joke.
“It meant something to me in life,” he told the Associated Press.
Nick Beef has no intention of actually using the plot, saying he would prefer to be cremated.